Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Good Funeral Guide - book

This post may be superfluous, since more people read the blog and website of the same name as the above book than read this blog, by a factor of, ooh, I dunno, 20? But I'll risk superfluity (possibly not for the first time) in order to celebrate and widely recommend a really outstandingly good job.

It's full of practical information, it's strikingly fair-minded, and it is sometimes witty and amusing in the style of the excellent blog - how dare he? Knows he not that Death is a Serious Matter? I think also it is, in its way, a book of implicit philosophy, since reading it can help change your attitude towards the immediate circumstances and the meanings of death; changing one's attitude to death means ditto to life, and if that isn't philosophy, what is?

But of course it is above all a practical help to people who are trying to decide on a funeral, their own or someone else's. I urge you to take seriously Charles' warnings that some sections are not for the squeamish. If you don't stop and think about this, but swagger in with a macho disregard for knowledge about the realities of dead bodies, you may creep out deeply and disturbingly unswaggered...but these are only small areas of the book, in any case, and if you can manage them, they are useful and interesting.

The Death Industry is on the move; the book, website and blog are part of that move. It's a fiercely competitive industry in a strangely submerged way, and it's full of strong opinions, unexamined assumptions and sometimes, obfuscation. The book is an exceptionally good guide through all this. It's also very well structured (form follows function.) It will undoubtedly offend some people, which only goes to show that it's invaluable, truly independent and a great job. So bugger off and buy it now!

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